Weak skin cells increase as we age, and this increase is linked to a variety of pathological changes in the skin, including a reduction in the skin’s ability to protect against infections, an increase in irritability, a delay in wound healing, and an increased risk of cancer. Flavonoids are a diverse group of plant compounds found in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, and beverages such as tea and wine (Hollman, 2001). They are multi-functional ingredients that are mostly employed in conventional cosmetics for their calming and antioxidant properties.
Here are some ways in which flavonoids may positively impact skin health:
- Antioxidant activity: Flavonoids have strong antioxidant properties, meaning they can neutralize harmful free radicals generated by factors like UV radiation, pollution, and stress (Cao et al., 1997). Free radicals can damage skin cells and contribute to premature aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. By scavenging these free radicals, flavonoids help protect the skin from oxidative stress and maintain its youthful appearance.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Chronic inflammation can lead to various skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Flavonoids possess anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the skin (Mukherjee et al., 2013). By inhibiting inflammatory mediators and enzymes, flavonoids may contribute to alleviating inflammatory skin conditions and promoting a calmer complexion.
- Collagen synthesis: Collagen is a structural protein responsible for the elasticity and firmness of the skin. Flavonoids have been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis, which can improve skin texture, enhance skin elasticity, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles (Kawabata et al., 2015). By supporting collagen production, flavonoids help maintain the skin’s structural integrity.
- UV protection: Some flavonoids, particularly those found in green tea (e.g., epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG) and citrus fruits (e.g., hesperidin), have been found to provide protective effects against UV radiation (Katiyar et al., 2001). UV radiation is a major contributor to skin damage, photoaging, and skin cancer. Flavonoids may help reduce UV-induced DNA damage, protect against sunburn, and promote overall skin health when used alongside sunscreen and other sun protection measures.
- Wound healing: Certain flavonoids exhibit wound-healing properties by promoting the proliferation of skin cells and the formation of new blood vessels (Hensel et al., 2016). These compounds may accelerate the healing process and improve the overall quality of the healed skin. Flavonoids like quercetin, found in onions and apples, have been studied for their potential in supporting wound healing.
Including a variety of flavonoid-rich foods in your diet can provide a wide range of beneficial compounds for overall health, including skin health.
- Cao, G., et al. (1997). Antioxidant activity of dietary polyphenols as determined by a modified ferric reducing/antioxidant power assay. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 45(8), 2850-2855.
- Hollman, P. C. H. (2001). Evidence for health benefits of plant phenols: local or systemic effects? Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 81(9), 842-852.
- Kawabata, F., et al. (2015). Impact of flavonoid intake on aging and longevity. Current Topics in Medicinal
- Domaszewska-Szostek, A., Puzianowska-Kuźnicka, M., & Kuryłowicz, A. (2021). Flavonoids in skin senescence prevention and treatment. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(13), 6814.